Tuesday, October 30, 2007

King Harry - Divided We Stand (1977)

Little is known about british trio, King Harry. The band landed a deal with the largely progressive rock oriented label, Harvest Records. Given the label's rich history of progressive artists like Pink Floyd, Barclay James Harvest, Edgar Broughton Band, Kayak, Quatermass, Soft Machine and Be-Bop Deluxe, it comes as quite a surprise that King Harry should appear on their roster in 1977. King Harry was hardly a prog act, though there is a certain quirkiness that puts them outside of mainstream rock. Sounding somewhat like fellow brits, Charlie, the band blends shifting chord structures and time signatures with a rather obtuse sense of melody. The band did tour for a short time in 1978, but virtually vanished after Harvest pulled the plug on their contract. The subsequent and current activities of the members is unknown.

With the exception of the fabulous "Dear Matthew" and "Dressed Up To Kill", most of the tracks are lacking a clear hook. Though this unique sound made for a fairly distinct identity, it certainly did not translate into record sales. Easily found in european record shops, this release is among the more elusive albums here in the states. Since it is unlikely to ever be given the digital treatment, this vinyl rip from Steffen will do nicely. Dig this obscurity straight from the UK.

22 comments:

Bubba said...

Hope the move went (or is still going) well. Glad to see you back.

Nyet said...

First of all, good to see the blog back to full life again.
Never heard about this King Harry, but as it was in your wants list, it must be good :)
Thanks for your great blog!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Ronnie!

Anonymous said...

Greet to see you again. And again another great post, as always.
Miguel

Anonymous said...

re: King Harry.........I was 'vaguely' involved with king Harry.......they were based in Bridgwater, Somerset from a recording studio called 'Movement'.....Al. Tito and 'leader' John Dickenson did a fantastic '8 track-demo' taken over by EMI for a 24 track 're-do' which went wrong 'so to speak'.......to repay EMI for the advance investment 'We' had to do loads of sessions for other EMI artists. You should have heard the original...i was great.....John took the re-make too seriously and 'lost the heart' in my opinion.

Chris Merrick (Bassist/Radio presenter- Now based in the Canary Islands)

Mark Lungo said...

Let me point out that King Harry was on EMI proper in England; they were on the Harvest label only in America, same as with Tom Robinson Band, Duran Duran and Thomas Dolby.

Matt said...

Who was in King Harry???

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

I've got the vinyl album of this FANTASTIC band (I think they only made one record?). The guitar solos are sometimes really outstanding!!!

Henri said...

My all time favourite album. I bought a copy of this cd in Russia, but it wasn't a legal version. Nevertheless it sounds great.

Mark Lungo said...

Matt, according to http://www.glorydazemusic.com/articles.php?article_id=1815, this is who was in King Harry:

Al Bowery - lead guitar, bass, vocals
John Dickenson - keyboards, vocals
Tino Licinio - guitars, bass, vocals

Apparently the band had no drummer. Hmmm...

The article also says that Tino Licinio was a member of Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen for a while.

Anonymous said...

I have a demo tape of King Harry Divided We Stand gived to my Partner. We knew John Dickinson and heard the making and mixing of some tracks in John's recording studio whilst visiting him in Bridgewater.
We originally knew him when his family lived in Ferndown, Dorset.

Anonymous said...

WOW - what a blast from the past! My wife ran the office for John Dickenson for many years and I did odd bits of session work in the studio. I remember the making of this album as though it was yesterday! My current drummer was the 'Harold King' referred to in the liner notes. John also produced the 'Movement Drum Computer' which was one of the very first sampled drum machines available and was used by the Thompson Twins, Annie Lennox and many other bands during that period.

Anonymous said...

I bought this album in 1977 after hearing "You Stand Accused" on Radio 1 on Tommy Vance's radio show. It cost me 3.04 at Boots (the price sticker is still on the back of the cover)!! I was born and raised in High Wycombe, Bucks, UK but have lived in Pennsylvania, USA for 18 years now. This record traveled all over the world with me to places such as Texas, The Philippines (twice), Delaware, South Korea and California. It is one of my favourite records of all time and I just "recorded" it onto a CD this morning from the original album using one of those Album/Cassette recorders which are popular over here at the moment. I couldn't be happier because now I can dig out all my old favourites from that era and relive the glory days of my youth!! Much respect to the webmaster for this site. Sam Smith, USA

Wenche said...

Lucky to find something about King Harry - Divided we Stand - and who the boys are. Bought this album in Norway, I think it was in 77/78. The album is lost, but we copied it to the Revox tape recorder and we still got it.
My husband, daughter and me loves this album!

Jon Andrews said...

This brings back memories. John Dickinson was the manager of the band I was in back in 1981 (The occupants). John was a great producer, and if things had worked out better, would have produced our first album. I would love a copy of the King Harry album, but cant find a way of downloading it as mp3`s.

Jon Andrews

Jon Andrews said...

One interesting point was that the drummer, `Harold King` didnt actually exist, and as John Dickinson explained to me at the time, was merely a few different drummers under contract elsewhere.

Jon Andrews.

Paul said...

I played bass in a band with Tino, in 1979/80, at the Manor in Pawlett, nr Bridgwater. I think the band was called Ruby Cane, but im not sure, as ii never owned a poster or looked at the billing! We played a six night a week residency. Al the guitarist would sometimes pop down to see the set.
I also played in the Occupants with Jon Andrews (see earlier post) in 1981, who John Dickenson managed.
Al Bowry played for a while with Cliff Richard.
Keyboard player of Ruby Cane was Gary Coombes, who after the Manor closed down, joined Weston Super Mare pop band Racey.
The band Eastertown are now Weston's finest.
(oh, and I play bass in that too!)

Anonymous said...

Cuts two, four, and eight i.e. You Stand Accused, Grandpa's Farm and Endless Miles immediately stand out as being totally brilliant! I always invariably listen to them "at full blast", the only way there is for listening to great music such as this. Cheers from Portugal. Rodrigo.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled across this great blog...
I was also somewhat involved with the project (in fact, I lived there for a short while).
I remember my 21st birthday was spent laying down a track (the demo version). Think it was "Dear Matthew"...took ages to synchronise the hand claps!
John was an excellent arranger, keyboard player, composer and a really nice guy. Also a perfectionist who taught me a huge amount about studio work.
Left the studio because I needed to actually earn some money, so ended up as a bass player on cruise ships, followed by a few years of keyboard playing and at present playing keyboard in a pub/restaurant in Egypt, which we own.
Great memories...I even remember John waking me up at 5am to play "You Stand Accused" after he had written it!

Henri said...

Finally released on cd. I bought it on eBay and it arrived just a few days later. What a wonderful album, for almost 40 years in my top 5!

Steve Gill said...

Really pleased to find these comments and history. I own this album by most unlikely accident and absolutely love it. Have just bought a turntable, so it's come out sounding better than ever!